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N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - August 12, 2010

Take Me Fishing!

Note: Fish stocking is over for the season. Click here for past stocking reports.

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North Country

It is interesting to monitor the water levels in Northern New Hampshire as we witness these mid-summer, unsettled weather patterns. We have all watched as our region experiences drought, humidity, and heavy thunderstorms. When you consider these intertwined relationships it can become difficult to predict the effect on freshwater fish. The landscape that surrounds your favorite fishing spot is designed to act as a slow release system for the precipitation that falls as rain and snow. Most systems work like a giant sponge, adding water in a consistent pattern. When this system breaks down, like areas of heavy deforestation, for example, the result is flashy, dynamic runoff that begins intensely and ends quickly. Right now, most fish are benefiting from a healthy landscape that provides them with good water flows and cooler temperatures. There have been several heavy downpours this week with some areas receiving three inches of rain in one storm event. The result in most waterbodies has been a healthy flow spread out over several days to weeks.

In order to translate these principles into successful fishing one must target those areas that benefit the most. If your favorite pond has been in the 80s most of the month, cast near incoming brooks or seeps. If the mainstem of your favorite river has been fishing slowly, venture up one of its tributaries and see what you can find. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

I had the pleasure of spending a wonderful morning on Lake Winnipesaukee yesterday (yes fisheries biologists do fish!) with a friend of mine, Ron Smagula, in his great fishing boat the "Rock and Troll" out of Ames Farm. I arrived soon after 4:30 AM and was greeted by my fellow fishermen, Gary and Terry Cutter of Antrim/Hillsborough. I have fished with Gary for years aboard his boat "The Video Fisherman," and have a great collection of VHS tapes and later, CDs that he produced on New Hampshire fishing adventures.

We were greeted by a strong southwest wind, but that didn't deter Ron as the 225 Yamaha quickly took us to the fishing grounds. We used small, colorful streamer flies (size 6), tied by Alan Nute of A.J.'s Bait and Tackle in Meredith. We worked a couple of planer boards, to which we ran 5-6 colors of lead core, and two downriggers fished between 30-40 feet. Action was fast and consistent. Ron had patterned an area where the salmon were actively feeding on schools of young-of-the-year smelt. Our best salmon was 4 lb. 7 oz., and many were close to 4 pounds, either a shade less or more. The salmon looked great, as well as the rainbows we caught, including a Meredith Rotary Derby tagged rainbow that will adorn my grill soon. All in all a wonderful morning was had, alongside these great guys, and outstanding sportsmen!

On another note, we gave the research vessel Forager her "dry run" and everything appears to be in working order. Our night-time smelt work will begin this Wednesday, and extend through the second week of September on the area lakes. I will detail our sampling in future reports! – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

A recent outing on Warren Lake in Alstead produced some good numbers of healthy largemouth bass while fishing off-shore. During the heat of the summer I have more success fishing weedbeds that are in six to ten feet of water than I do fishing the shallows along the shoreline. Whenever I fish a new waterbody it can take me just as long to find these weedbeds as it does for me to fish them, but the time spent scouting usually pays off. When fishing these weedbeds I like to use creature baits rigged Texas-style with enough weight to be able to feel the bait drag and bounce on the bottom. Another technique that I have been fishing this summer that has produced for me is a shakey-head worm. A few good places to try these techniques are Massasecum Lake (Bradford), Clement Pond (Hopkinton), and Thorndike Pond (Jaffrey). – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Although the middle of August is traditionally a time where trout fishing in lakes and ponds in southeastern New Hampshire slows, our previous fall surveys indicate that plenty of stocked fish are still present. With water surface temperatures ranging from the mid 70s to low 80s, an angler must be prepared to reach the depths of the thermocline. There are several options available to do this and many of these can be pretty simple. Those fishing out of smaller watercraft (cartop boats, canoes, kayaks) can extend their summer trout fishing season by using divers, downriggers, and leadcore line. Smaller clamp-on downriggers can be somewhat inexpensive and allow the angler to be able to troll extremely tight circles at depths below or at the thermocline. Keep in mind, the lure, fly, or bait does not have to be very far away from the downrigger ball or release. This device also allows the angler to quickly change gear to find what is being effective that day. A lure, fly, or bait trailed shortly behind the downrigger ball allows the angler to target specific fish or bait pods if electronics are also used. Leadcore lines and divers (there are several different variations available) are very simple to use and the jerking motions given to the lines by paddling or windy chops add a great deal of action to the lure, fly, or bait. However, these devices can be somewhat challenging if the extent of deeper water is limited and therefore the angler has to be aware of catching the bottom. As always, be sure to be prepared to handle caught fish. Have in mind whether or not you are planning to harvest fish before the fish is landed. Nets and needlenose pliers need to be readily available to minimize the handling time and injury. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Things are pretty slow these days, the only fishing that has been consistently good is the mackerel! Groundfishing has been hit or miss lately waiting for the pollock to come in full force. We should have at least another month of flounder fishing for those of you that have not taken advantage of this yet, they are not as plentiful as earlier in the season but if you are patient and don’t mind looking for them they are still here to be found. A few small flounder were reported at the inlet of Hampton Harbor in recent days. Remember, these fish have small mouths so don’t load up on the bait! If you don’t find them in Hampton, move up the coast and give the jetty at Rye Harbor State Park a try.

I have been told in the past (never tried myself though, so take it with a grain of salt) that if you go to Seabrook Beach, the beach on the Seabrook side of the Hampton/Seabrook bridge, at dead low tide you can cast out far enough into the channel under the bridge to access a hole that is inaccessible at high tide. Rumor has it that you can find black sea bass and flounder lurking around in this spot. Please report back if you give it a try! – Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist

 
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